Today marked the end of my year and a half working at Chipotle. As my first job in high school (my first job ever) it has truly been an amazing and growing experience. I have learned so many new skills, and I will truly miss working with my crew and interacting with customers. I have experienced first-hand the benefits of having a job in high school, and I want to share it with all of you high schoolers out there on the fence about working during the school year.
I applied to Chipotle the spring of Junior year. A couple of my friends already had jobs working at Jamba Juice, Mad Greens, and Starbucks and I wanted to start saving up for college and earning some spending money. I applied online and was soon called in for an interview. As my first job interview, I totally siked myself out and came WAY over-dressed. PRO-TIP: When applying to Chipotle (or any other fast-food chain), it’s okay to come in jeans with a nice top or a casual dress. I, for one, came in my mom’s black slacks and dress shirt. Not necessary. I have also compiled a couple of Tips For Job Interviews.
As I navigated my way around the store and learned to make salsas and memorized the store vision, I became familiar with the benefits of having a job. First off, you gain:
Great People Skills
- You develop great people skills in regards to dealing with people from different walks of life. You will learn how to deal with that one co-worker who always gets on your nerves, a caring- but sometimes ineffective- manager, how to build supportive relationships with your co-workers, etc.. Having a job in high school will help you to develop these skills so that you are more fully prepared for any future jobs (that might be more consequential than rolling burritos).
- You learn invaluable communication skills that are necessary for ensuring an effective, smooth environment for yourself, the customers, and your co-workers. I learned this the hard way. During my job interview, I told my manager that I could work any day of the week and failed to mention that I needed weekends off. Therefore, I was scheduled for a Saturday despite prior plans. I had to call everybody and see if anyone could come in for me. It is an uncomfortable situation to be in, and I definitely learned from that. Telling your manager clearly from the beginning what days you can and can not work will save you a lot of stress in the future, trust me.
- You also have to be on top of asking for days off- know the exact dates you will be out and constantly remind your manager. Don’t be afraid to leave sticky notes, send them a text, and remind them prior to your absence.
- You also learn to deal with all sorts of customers. I’ve become great friends with the regulars- they would ask me about school and I would ask them about their kids (I had all their orders memorized and would start making it even as they walk through the doors). But there are some customers who aren’t having a great day and it might be reflected in their actions and words. I learned to keep my thoughts to myself (no matter how rude the customer), smile politely, and assist them so that they can have a better day. I also used to be terrified of answering phone calls just in case the customer asks me something that I don’t know the answer to. But I learned the only way to learn was by answering the phone. So be confident and know it’s okay to not know.
- You learn to prioritize your time and balance your schedule. Over the summer I worked every weekday and during the school year I worked Monday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. It definitely took me some time to adjust, and I was exhausted. I was taking 4 AP classes, running cross-country in the fall and playing Ultimate Frisbee in the spring. Add 3 more clubs to that (two with board positions) and, yeah you got the point. I learned to prioritize my assignments, use my study-hall periods more effectively and to study in advance.
Meet New People
- I might have said this before, but having a job is a great way to meet new people, co-workers and customers alike. My crew has become my second family. We share stories about our lives, play pranks on each other (all sanitary, of course), and encourage and support one another. I also get to meet some awesome customers. There’s this one guy who looks like a mix between James Franco and Theo James. I am not kidding you. I have tried multiple times to Snapchat him to my friends without looking like a total creep. Unfortunately, none of my attempts were successful, otherwise I would’ve posted a picture of him here *wink wink.
- You can always add high school jobs to your resume. It shows that you are responsible, know how to manage your time, and are good with people. You can also put this on your college application (woot woot). I even wrote my college essay about rolling burritos with guacamole. Yessiree, that I did!
Learn New Skills
- Not only do you learn communication and time management skills, but an assortment of skills as well! Whether it is cutting lemons/lettuce, making salsas, scanning documents, making Starbucks frappuccinos, or looking under a microscope, these are all skills that you can add to your growing repertoire.
Get to Know Yourself
- Having a job will help you to learn more about yourself and how you work. You’ll see what methods help you to be more effective and friendly and what skills you still need to work on. Combined with everything else you’ve learned, you’ll definitely be ready for a job in the *grown up* (eeeeeh!) world.
So there’s my 2 cents on why you should have a job in high school. Hope you like it and remember to follow my blog for more posts like these!